Multi-specialist firm with strong focus on results
Kaizo is Japanese for change or renewal, which is appropriate, because the firm has undergone several transformations since it was founded in 1978 by Norman Manners, father of current chief executive Crispin Manners. Initially, the elder Manners sought to provide investor and corporate communications counsel, working primarily at the board level with client companies. In the late 80s, the firm started to target technology companies, focusing on trade media relations. But over time, the firm began to take on more corporate assignments, and in 1999 it changed its name, acquired boutique firms The Practice (in 2000) and Beer Davies , and expanded into the consumer and healthcare sectors.
Since then, Kaizo’s focus has been on developing a distinctive process, one that provides the client with a greater degree of certainty about communications results. Value Flow is a process grounded in the conviction that the big creative idea is no longer enough, and the recognition that PR must drive business results. The process is fully transparent, with objectives clearly agreed upfront and evaluation built in at every stages, and it obviously resonates with clients as well as winning Kaizo the Confederation of British Industry’s Innovative Company of the Year Award in December of 2003—the first time a PR firm had ever been honoured with the award.
Practical application of this methodology can be seen in Kaiso’s work for the Docklands Light Railway, which hired the firm to increase leisure travel, and an increase of 300,000 passengers after Kaizo reached out to local communities in Essex and Kent and arranged day trips for local reporters and their families.
The results-driven approach is one reason Crispin Manners has been able to surround himself with veteran talent at the top of the organization. The leadership team includes Rosemary Brook, former U.K. chairman of Edelman; creative director Eugen Beer, whose clients have included Stone Roses and The Smiths as well as Ben & Jerry’s and Barbie; managing directors Paul Smith (a technology and telecoms specialist) and Liz Andrews, whose expertise spans business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing; and Paul Marsden, an authority on word-of-mouth and viral marketing and lecturer at the London School of Economics, who has been partnering with the firm to develop its capabilities in those growth areas.
The firm’s discipline and methodology came in particularly handy in 2004, after it acquired 13-person consumer public relations boutique Barclay Stratton, adding some impressive consumer clients, including a couple of Nestlé brands; high street opticians Dolland & Aitchison; and consumer products company Accantia, which markets the Simple women’s beauty line and Lillets tampons. The rigor of ValueFlow was key when Barclay Stratton was asked to repitch Accantia, and has helped the consumer practice add new business from Del Monte and L.A. Fitness.
At the same time, the firm’s tech practice has continued to grow, with new clients including Anite, Energis, LogLogic, Net Appliances, Sourcefire and Trackaphone. And another small acquisition—WPR, formed by Patrick Welsh, previously with Text 100—gives the firm a new unit that specializes in securing speaking opportunities for executives and has worked on a pan-European basis for Cisco, HP, and Oracle.
Kaizo had fees of around £3.6 million in 2004—up about 20 percent the previous year—and now hovers just outside the U.K. top 20. The firm has a staff of around 50. It handles pan-European programming for several clients, and is a member of the Worldcom network of independent PR firms.